Galaxy Buds 2
The newly announced Galaxy Buds 2 are the true successor to the original Galaxy Buds first unveiled in February 2019.
While retaining the square-box design introduced with the Buds Live, the Buds 2 changes things up with a more rounded design on the buds themselves and a new two-tone colourway for the charging case. While the colour of the charging case remains white, the interior and the buds are available in white, graphite, lavender or olive.
Design aside, the Buds 2 packs some impressive features including active noise cancelling (ANC), which can reduce background noise by up to 98%; three levels of ambient sound control; a dynamic two-way speaker; and auto-switch functionality, enabling your buds to switch automatically between your Samsung devices as needed.
Samsung has also bolstered the new buds’ audio pickup capabilities with an inner mic and an outer one, and a voice pickup unit (VPU) to improve voice quality when using the buds for calls.
Despite being the smallest and lightest buds in Galaxy’s line-up, Buds 2 boasts up to five hours’ playback with ANC turned on and up to 20 hours when using the case.
Galaxy Watch 4
Samsung switched things up with the new Galaxy Watch 4 line. Traditionally you’d see one watch design, with two different size options, being shown off at Unpacked, but these are different times. The company has unveiled not one, but two watches — each available in two different sizes — the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
The Galaxy Watch 4 is a “modern, minimalist option, designed for versatile use from morning to night”, while the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is for those looking for “a timeless smartwatch design with our fan favourite rotating bezel”.
Both lines are slimmer and sleeker than their predecessors and boast more customisation, thanks to a larger variety of colours, straps and watch faces. But arguably the most interesting aspect is that they’re the first smartwatches to run on the new Wear OS platform jointly developed by Samsung and Google. The new platform will see deeper integration between Samsung — and third-party apps — with Google’s services. For example, the built-in compass on the Watch 4 series works in tandem with Google Maps. Samsung also notes that the watch will be able to sync important settings such as do not disturb hours, blocked callers and world clocks between your phone and watch.
Also noteworthy are the new gesture features, which allow you receive or reject phone calls, dismiss notifications and alarms, or perform a designated function depending on how you move your forearm or wrist.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that has advanced health functionality then this could very well be the device for you. The new Watch 4 lines have a new Body Composition Analysis tool for skeletal muscle, basal metabolic rate, body water and body fat percentage. There’s also a new BioActive Sensor which runs on one chip set and measures Optical Heart Rate Sensor (PPG), Electrical Heart Rate Sensor (ECG) and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Sensor (BIA).
When it comes to amping up your home workouts then nothing beats the new Watch 4 lines, which give you the option of group challenges with friends, and home training using your Samsung Smart TV.
Both Galaxy Watch 4 lines feature the same specs under the hood, including a 5nm processor, 20% faster CPU, 50% increased RAM, higher display resolution, improved GPU and LTE connectivity in select models.
The battery lasts up to 40 hours on a single charge and you’re able to get up to 10 ten hours of battery life with just 30 minutes of charging.
The Galaxy Watch 4 will come in two sizes — 40mm and 44mm — and four colours: black, silver, green (44mm only) and pink gold (40mm only).
• The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will be available in 42mm or 46mm and in two colours, black or silver.
Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G
The original Z Flip was the most fun phone I’d reviewed in 2020, a sentiment shared by many other tech reviewers, so it was going to be interesting to see how Samsung improved on an already enchanting experience.
Based on looks alone, the Z Flip 3 5G is a stunner. The retro two-tone design is a welcome update to the original Flip’s reflective finish and succeeds in making the new foldable look cooler, more fun and more sophisticated than its predecessor.
Another noticeable change is the larger 1.9-inch cover screen which now boasts improved functionality, including the ability to engage with quick settings, notifications, Samsung Pay and supported widgets.
Open the phone and you’ll be greeted by the vibrant 6.7-inch Infinity Flex Display now with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Other enhancements include a new Armour Aluminium frame, which Samsung says is 10% stronger than previous generations, Gorilla Glass Victus, a new protective film with redesigned layer structure, and an IPX8 rating for water resistance — making both the Z Flip 3 5G and the Z Fold 3 5G the first foldable phones with an IP rating.
Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, the Z Flip 3 5G is available in Cream, Phantom Black, Green, and Lavender, with select regions able to get exclusive colours such as White, Pink, and Grey on Samsung.com.
• The Z Flip 3 5G will be available for pre-order from Sept. 1 and starts at R21,999.
Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G
2020’s Z Fold 2 was an impressive feat of engineering and technological prowess. However, being a fairly new form factor, the Fold 2 wasn’t quite as life-proof as many people had hoped. The Z Fold 3 5G takes everything we love about the Fold 2, improves on it and bumps up the durability of the device.
Sporting a new matt finish and a new 12MP triple camera set-up on the back of the device, the Fold 3 — like the Flip 3 — has an Armour Aluminium frame, Gorilla Glass Victus, a new protective film, an IPX8 rating and “Super Clear Glass” with Gorilla Glass with DX covering the lenses of the triple camera set-up.
The Z Fold 3’s 6.2-inch outer display is a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a hole-punch cut-out for the camera, while the main display comes in at 7.6-inches and has an under display camera (UDC).
While all of that is great, what will arguably be the most talked about feature is the Z Fold 3’s new accessory, the S Pen.
Once exclusively available with the Note series, the S Pen is slowly becoming a mainstay of other lines within the Galaxy range, having come to the S21 Ultra earlier this year.
Able to use either the Bluetooth enabled S Pen Pro or the non-Bluetooth powered S Pen Fold Edition, the Z Fold 3 5G is the first foldable phone to have S Pen compatibility baked in, thereby increasing the productivity capabilities of the device to near Note proficiency.
The S Pen Pro is able to work with the Z Fold 3 as well as other Galaxy devices such as the Galaxy Tab or Galaxy Book and, thanks to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), it’s also able to perform Air Actions, while the S Pen Fold Edition works exclusively on the Fold 3 and cannot perform Air Actions as it lacks BLE.
Neither S Pen will be able to slot into the Z Fold 3; however, there are special cases available for the foldable that will ensure your S Pen is close at hand when needed.
Having S Pen capabilities should mean that multitasking is improved and it is. Not only is Samsung working with partners such as Google, Netflix, LinkedIn, Spotify, Slack, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams and TikTok, the company has also introduced improvements to the way you’re able to engage with multiple windows and apps.
Powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC, the Z Fold 3 5G will be available in three colours, Phantom Black, Phantom Green and Phantom Silver.
As with previous foldables from Samsung, the Thom Browne edition devices won’t be available in SA.
• Pre-orders open on Sept. 1, with prices starting at R37,999.